The online exhibition, a joint project of Blinken OSA and the Háttér Archive will open on February 26, 2021.
“Records Uncovered”: Gay and Lesbian Histories in Central and Southeastern Europe, 1945–1999 is an online exhibition by the Blinken OSA and the Háttér Archive, which presents the divergences and commonalities among gay and lesbian movements in Central and Southeastern Europe in the second half of the last century. Through legal documentation, media reports, private and institutional correspondence, artworks and ephemera, this exhibition evinces the understanding and treatment of homosexuals, in countries that commonly shared two different political goals at two different periods: the establishment of a new Communist society between the mid-1940s and the early 1990s, and the transition toward a democratic society in the following years.
As such, the exhibition offers insights into the history of the legal, social, cultural, and medical “regimes of homosexuality” in Central and Southeastern Europe as being substantively shaped by two political projects: the furthering of the Communist revolution and the democratization of the respective societies. Since an important communication axis regarding public policies on homosexuality was established during the Communist period between these regions and the USSR and GDR, the exhibition dwells on the specificities of the treatment of homosexuality and gay and lesbian self-organization in these countries as well, although it does not follow them separately after the countries’ dissolutions.
Records uncovered, realized as a common project of the Blinken OSA and the Háttér Archive for the purpose of this year’s LGBT History Month, is in one sense, an “exhibition in progress.” We are aware that documentation about the lives and activism of LGBT+ persons and groups has been unsystematically collected and classified in our archives under many categories, which requires time-consuming processes of data-mining and research in order to be revealed. We are also aware that in the cases where it has been systematically collected and preserved, this documentation mainly reports on the life of gays and gay activism, unjustifiably strengthening the representative position of this group as most dominant among the LGBT+ population.
Records uncovered as an “exhibition in progress” marks the start of a collaborative effort in the form of a year-long LGBT+ history project, in which the Blinken OSA and Háttér invite contributions of relevant materials by members of the LGBT+ communities in Central and Southeastern Europe. It is the curated inclusion of these contributions that will ultimately bring Records Uncovered” to its completion as a comprehensive onsite exhibition about the histories of the LGBT+ movements in these regions, planned for February, 2022, at the Galleria Centralis in the Blinken OSA.
Perica Jovchevski, Central European University/Blinken OSA
Péter Hanzli, Háttér Archívum
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Blinken Open Society Archives | Galeria Centralis | Arany János utca 32, 1051 Budapest, Hungary